According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include the following:
The first component, exposure, must involve both a loss of physical integrity or risk of serious injury or death to self or others and an intense negative emotional response. The persistent re-experiencing, according to the DSM-IV, must include flashbacks, recurring distressing dreams, subjective re-experiencing of the traumatic event or intense negative psychological or physiological response to any reminder of the traumatic event. The final components, persistent avoidance and numbing, involve the following:
PTSD is characterized by persistent symptoms of increased arousal not present prior to the traumatic event or events. These symptoms, all physiological response issues, include the following:
If these symptoms are present but do not persist for 30 days, the diagnosis is Acute Stress Disorder instead of PTSD. In addition to exhibiting symptoms that persist for more than 30 days, the symptoms reported must lead to impair major areas of life activity, such as social relations, occupational activities, or other important areas of functioning.
Diagnostic methods for PTSD continue to evolve, and scales are developed to measure the severity and frequency of PTSD symptoms. Recent updates group PTSD symptoms into the following four clusters:
For those who may be suffering from PTSD, they should consult a doctor for a professional diagnosis if they exhibit the following symptoms:
If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, please call our toll-free helpline. We are available 24 hours a day and can provide you with the information you need about PTSD and treatment. Don’t wait to get started on your path to recovery, call now.